welcome to a bbc news special. i'm mike embley, in london, where a lone attacker has killed four people, including a police officer, outside the houses of parliament. britain's prime minister has condemned what she called a "sick and depraved terrorist attack". the attacker drove into pedestrians on westminster bridge, causing catastrophic injuries. i saw the vehicle mount the kerb and it was coming out so quickly, and i saw some people being hit in front of me. on the other side of the road there was a body and when i looked further up, there was another body. and then, when i looked over the side of the bridge, there appeared to be a body in the water as well. police shot dead the attacker. they say they know his identity and believe he was motivated by islamic—extremism. the lights of the eiffel tower in paris were switched off as a mark of respect. world leaders have condemned the attack. the british prime minister has
condemned what she called a "sick and depraved terrorist attack" in london, that left a policeman, three civilians and the attacker dead. the officer has been named as constable keith palmer, who was a8, a husband and a father. he had served in the force for 15 years. the country's top anti—terrorism officer has said the police are assuming the attacker was motivated by islamic—extremism. at least a0 people were injured including members of a school party from france, five south korean visitors, two romanian tourists and three other policemen. this was the sequence of events which started unfolding at 2:40 on wednesday afternoon local time. the attacker drove a car across westminster bridge, mounting the pavement, hitting around forty people. three of the pedestrians died
and many others were taken to hospital. the car continued along the bridge towards big ben and then crashed into the railings beside the grounds. the attacker then made his way to the gate of the parliamentary complex armed with two knives and stabbed a police officer who later died, who was unarmed, despite the best efforts of a team of emergency workers. the attacker was then shot dead by police. scotland yard's top anti—terrorism officer, acting deputy commissioner mark rowley, gave this update late on wednesday evening. one of those who died today was a police officer, pc keith palmer, a member of our parliamentary and diplomatic protection command. keith, aged a8, had 15 years service, and was a husband and father. he was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift and he had every right to expect that would happen. i can also now confirm that there are three members of the public who have lost their lives in the attack.
specially trained family liaison officers have been deployed to support them. and as i confirmed earlier, the suspected attacker was shot dead by an armed officer. therefore now in total we have five people who died today. i will not comment on this stage as to the identity of the attacker but our working assumption is that he was inspired by international terrorism. i should also say at this stage, that we believe approximately a0 people have been injured, including several with serious injuries, including three police officers, two of whom are in a serious condition. our political editor, laura kuenssberg was inside parliament when the attack took place. run. go. move. gunfire.
the sound of gunfire replacing the bells of big ben. man shouting: go! go, move yourselves, go! the centre of our government, normally a safe place. not today. members of the public, politicians, the hundreds of staff for whom this is work. in politics, for some, a home from home. sprinting for safety outside. the swat team turned up with paramedics, and they asked us to abandon our vehicle and just walk away. there was a body and when i looked further up, there was another body. and then, when i looked over the side of the bridge, there appeared to be a body in the water as well. sick. to be honest, it is sick to witness these things. and right now, still, my hands are shaking. a car, a weapon, ploughing through members of the public
on westminster bridge, normally a tourist spot. and then the car, only a couple of hundred yards away, careered around to smash into pa rliament‘s gates. a policeman gave his life to stop the attacker going further. the prime minister had been meeting cabinet colleagues in parliament. but was hurried out and then through westminster‘s backstreets to safety. and inside parliament, lockdown. i, with hundreds of others, bundled back from the front entrance, waiting through fear and confusion. a police officer told me someone was killed just yards outside. we heard three or four shots on the right, or which sounded like shots, and then everyone turned and ran back through here and then... well, we know as much as we know from now on in. but i think generally, a lot of people were walking
through that area and most people heard three or four shots. did you hear anything? just enormous noise at the front of portcullis house ten minutes ago. lots of police and security guards shouting, people running past the building, general sense of panic. everyone ordered to the back of the building until it was safe to do otherwise. there are at least a couple of 100 people here inside portcullis house. this is really the heart of where westminster does its business and we are all part of a lockdown after what has happened outside. a police officer has told me one man was shot out the front. a few mps have told me they have heard three or four gunshots as they were on their way to vote. this is obviously a place that is very tightly guarded at all times, but there is a sense of shock that, finally, it appears that something so serious has happened right here in the heart of westminster.
then, in the chamber that sat on through all sorts of situations, wars and peace, was interrupted. order! i am now going to suspend the sitting of the house. this house is now suspended, but please wait here. because this place was the focus of danger. mps and staff watched from their windows as the swat team arrived. was this the attacker? a first aid kit thrown in to help, emergency services trying to save him and his victims. while inside, those of us who came here to work today, or to visit or to be part of this place, waited tensely, corridors full of staff who couldn't leave and didn't want to stay, caught up in an attack which stopped the business of democracy. we still don't really
know what's going on. this group of students was brought here just for the day to see how parliament works. little did they know what kind of situation would unfold. and frankly, it's still very hard to believe what's really happened here today. tonight, the meaning of this attempt seems clear. the prime minister, obviously angered, and saddened, but resolute. these streets of westminster, home to the world's oldest parliament, are ingrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe. and the values our parliament represents — democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law — command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere. that is why it is a target for those who reject those values. but let me make it clear today, as i have had cause to do before,
any attempt to defeat those values to violence and terror is doomed to failure. the human cost is only just becoming clear. an attack that in theory many expected but the truth of an event like this in practice is a shock in our parliament, a shock in our country. whatever the motive, an effort to stop our democracy in its track, a new awful page of history in a place in its tracks, a new awful page of history in a place where every corner tells of our shared past. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. the attack started when a man drove his vehicle at speed, on the pavement, the length of westminster bridge, towards the houses of parliament, hitting many pedestrians in his path — two of them died several others suffered catastrophic injuries. they included some police officers who'd been at an event nearby.
our chief correspondent gavin hewitt reports in more detail on the attack on westminster bridge. early afternoon with the traffic flowing over westminster bridge. to the right, a grey hyundai starts crossing the bridge and then swerves onto the pavement. a woman jumps into the thames. others are knocked to the ground and under traffic as the vehicle races towards parliament square. left behind on the bridge, a group of horrified visitors. on the ground, dozens of injured people, some lying on the pavement, many bleeding, one trapped under a bus. some of the injuries were described as catastrophic. a big sort of crunch, sounded like a car crash, but almost that crunch of a wheel on a kerb. i saw the vehicle mount the kerb and it was coming out so quickly, and i saw some people being hit in front of me. ijumped to the left into the road. i think one of the guys
had been hit, but fortunately was went past me. and then looked around me in shock because i could see bodies, and it was all, yeah, real shock. some people trying to escape the vehicle ended up in the road, cared for by bewildered passers—by. we heard what sounded like metal on metal, and we assumed it was a collision. but then we looked outside and i saw one person down, then another, and i saw five people in all down on the tarmac and on the pavement and then i understood that it must have been deliberate. there were moments when the injured were comforted by others who had been on the bridge. shortly after, paramedics from nearby st thomas‘ hospital arrived. the woman who jumped into the thames was rescued but is in a critical condition. many on the bridge had severe injuries. the police believe there was only one attacker involved here, but their task over the next 2a or 36 hours
will be to trace every link to that individual and to satisfy themselves there was no wider plot here. gavin hewitt, bbc news, westminster. politicians, journalists, tourists and members of the public became witnesses to the attack, which left five people dead and at least a0 injured. people described what they saw as events unfolded. theresa may was immediately taken to safety. she has chaired a meeting of cobra. questions were asked about how somebody managed to penetrate parliament's how somebody managed to penetrate pa rliament‘s enhanced security. how somebody managed to penetrate parliament's enhanced security. our security correspondent as this assessment of the attack and the investigation. the attacker shot by police lies on a stretcher, then still alive. his weapon, a large knife, apparently lies on the pavement next to him. now the hunt is on to identify the man and understand what lay behind this attack. who was he and how did he get so close? other clues for investigators will include the car that was used so brutally as a weapon.
was it his or a hire car? armed police have regularly carried out exercises like this one to secure parliament and the area around it. but today the response was for real. the met responded in line with our plans for a marauding terrorist attack. that response included uniformed and specialist firearms officers. we now, of course, have an ongoing operation and while we currently believe there was only one attacker i'm sure people will understand we are taking every precaution in locking down and searching the area as thoroughly and exhaustively as possible. in recent years security in parliament has been tightened after intruders managed to get inside. cameras, bollards, armed guards and x—ray scanners are all in place. the attacker did breach the initial perimeter but police dealt with him quickly. the security services say that 13 attacks have been stopped since 2013. mi5 and the police have certainly
improved their ability to detect those behind the plots. but, we've also seen those planning attacks switch to less sophisticated techniques which can be harder for the intelligence agencies to spot. a year ago exactly saw an attack on brussels airport and the metro. that was more sophisticated than what we saw in westminster today, including the use of explosives. last weekend paris's 0rly airport showed how sometimes lone individuals are now moving towards more low—tech means. a man grabbed a gun from a soldier but was shot. recent attacks in berlin and nice showed the carnage a vehicle could inflict on innocent people, as happened today on westminster bridge. in many recent cases attackers have been inspired by so—called islamic state, although not necessarily in direct contact with the group. well, it's very hard to prevent an attack, if you like, a low—tech
attack like this from happening once an individual is inspired to carry one out. if you haven't got the intelligence to know it is happening it's very, very hard to prevent lives from being lost once the attack actually takes a wide reaching and urgent investigation into this incident is now under way. the attacker may be dead but the priority will be finding out if he worked alone and if this threat has really passed. for the latest, let's cross live to our news reporter greg dawson at metropolitan police headquarters, new scotland yard. as gordon was saying, if the threat level is kept the same, at severe, there is the suggestion authorities don't think there are more specific attack is out there, so what are the police saying about which areas might remain closed and which cordons might be lifted?
those buses behind me, they have been moved off but there were several vehicles lined up on the pavement. the flashing orange light of tow trucks and our winching those vehicles onto the trucks and taking them away. a sign that they are trying at least to start a clear what was a crime scene. we are seeing in our screens that picture right now. it is worth repeating that relatively speaking, the threat to individuals from terror is absolutely tiny but the idea of these attacks, not just absolutely tiny but the idea of these attacks, notjust to kill but to cause terror. to cause fear. they chose an absolutely iconic place to make this attack. it couldn't be
more iconic. the most iconic landmark in central london. journalists surrounded by tourists. everybody recognises westminster. the many londoners, then you that a threat was likely. this is the first multiple death terrorist attack in the city for 12 years. people will be shocked and over the next few hours, london will start to wake up. it will be rush—hour here soon. the train station, when people arrive, they will notice several other armed police officers just providing that sense of reassurance that the city can go on as normal. parliamentjust behind me will be opening later. a sign up to find that they want to try and keep business going in london. that they will not be too disrupted by what has happened. we
are expecting a statement from the prime minister. she said anybody who tries to disrupt the way of life in great britain is doomed to failure. the prime minister is saying we will all move forward together. the queens visit postponed for the moment. in washington, the us secretary of state said his top priority is destroying islamic state. rex tillerson said they were determined to destroy barbaric organisation in his words. they are talking to 60 countries that make up the coalition against is. hardfought victories in iraqi and syria have swung the momentum in the coalition's favour but we must solidify our gains in the next phase of the counter isis fight. degradation of isis is not the end goal. we must defeat isis. i
recognise there are many pressing challenges in the middle east but defeating isis is the united states number one goal in the region. he outlined in detail the importance of fighting in defeating the islamic state group and also what needed to happen after the territory that islamic state holds is taken and the conflict moves into a new phase. i notice that he stressed that the commitment to continuing to combat islamic state group was important. he emphasised that. that is what members here were hoping to hear all wanting to hear, whether the us had a long—term strategy. he did say that after the military battles are oval —— over, the military force of the coalition would remain in the area to set the conditions so that isis could not
return. he talked about the efforts to clear areas, areas of stabilisation, he called them as well so that refugees and displaced persons could return. he also said that the united states in particular would increase its pressure on isis and al-qaeda in these areas. but he made the point that the united states was not in the practice of nation—building or reconstruction. it would do its part to support local and regional efforts but again, in keeping with president trump's america first policy, hands off kind of policy in terms of the middle east. he said everybody needed to step up in the coalition, not just the united needed to step up in the coalition, notjust the united states, to supply military force for the stabilisation efforts and to supply money for the humanitarian efforts. he stressed the us commitment to long—term stabilisation efforts but
said it would not do it by itself and that other countries needed to really step up. at the summit in washington — barbara spoke to nato's secretary generaljens stoltenberg — she asked him for his reaction to the attack in london. i strongly condemn the attacks in london and i express my condolences to all of those who have lost loved ones and also express my condolences to the british people. i met with borisjohnson earlier today, our allies stand together in the fight against terrorism and how to combat terrorism has been the main focus of our meeting here in washington today. you said that is the main focus of the meeting of the great big coalition gathered here. how can you stop these sort of lone wolf attacks from happening? we will always be vulnerable for these kind of attacks. there is no way we can be 100% safe. but we can do many different things to reduce risks and to fight
terrorist organisations like isil. that is what we are doing in new york and syria and the purpose of our presence in a country like afghanistan. this is also about police and intelligence and an ideological fight against those values which do not respect human life. to the reaction of the international papers: the daily express, a similar photo. it reports on the british foreign office minister who tried to save the life of police officer keith palmer. unsuccessfully, of course. tobias ellwood has also shown in the
guardian doing this a cetacean in cpr. the times also uses its front page to show the scene in new palace yard. the daily telegraph opens with theresa may's message of defiance. theresa may's message of defiance. the daily mary also calls it an attack on democracy the daily mail finally calls it a day terror came to westminster. and the i leads with one of the images of the whole event. tobias ellwood lost his brotherjohn in the bali bombings in 2002. police all over the country have been sending messages on social
media. that is it for now. thank you for watching. good morning. we have an area of rain across the central and southern parts of england drifting its way further west through this morning and here we have temperatures up to six degrees. rain in southern scotland, wet and windy here in the north of scotland, the north—west in particular has light winds and clear skies and lower temperatures, reaching maybe —8 for some. the wet weather moves into the bulk of wales before eight o'clock in the morning and into parts of the south—west as well. the rain becomes light and patchy towards the south—east, something brighter behind. northern england is dry with a shower or two over high ground and fair bit of cloud in scotland and ireland. a little rain to go with that. northern scotland after a cold start stays chilly through the middle part of the morning and we get regular sunshine as well. light wind as well. a decent start to the day. it will be a decent day for many
parts of the north and east of the uk as rain is confined to the south and south—west into the afternoon with a breeze and that will temper the temperatures a little bit. 12—13 for cardiff and london. eight or nine degrees in glasgow and newcastle. through the evening again along the south coast we have thick cloud and outbreaks of rain. rain towards the northern isles but in between fine and dry with clear skies and light winds. that means it will be a chilly start once again on friday. decent rain to be had on friday with the weather front drifting away towards the south. high pressure is firmly in charge all the way to the end of the week and into the weekend. friday again a cold start for some particular southern scotland and northern england we have light winds but here will be a lovely day with plenty of sunshine in light wind. breeze top and tail of the country, a little bit of rain in the south—west and maybe a little bit of rain towards the northern isles. decent day temperature wise for many. a little bit higher, ten or ii degrees for glasgow and belfast. 13 again for cardiff and london.
high pressure remains in charge of our weather through this weekend. that will bring a lot of fine and dry weather, more on the way of cloud developing as we reach sunday. saturday looks a decent day across large parts of the uk, chilly start but regular sunshine through the day and it should reach 14 or 15 degrees in the south—east and 13 degrees also for belfast and edinburgh. there is always a bit of a breeze blowing across the southern half of the uk through this weekend. a bit more cloud around on sunday but many places will be fine and dry and some spells of sunshine to be had. winds lighter the further north you are. dry through the weekend, if you get sunshine it will be warm but quite chilly by night. the latest headlines from bbc news: the british prime minister has condemned what she called a "sick and depraved terrorist attack" outside the houses of parliament in london. three civilians and a police officer were killed by a lone attacker who was then shot dead. the murdered police officer, who was unarmed and guarding the gates to parliament has been
named as keith palmer. he was a8, a husband, and a father. he suffered multiple stab wounds. the other victims have not yet been named. police say they know the identity of the attacker, but have given no details. the country's top anti—terrorism officer told journalists the attack was probably motivated by islamic extremism but no group has admitted responsibiity. the injured victims included five people from south korea, two from romania and several french schoolchildren. the lights of the eiffel tower in paris were switched off at midnight on wednesday night as a mark of respect. as the attack unfolded in westminster, our colleagues in parliament were reporting on events from both the house of commmons and lords.